As if the Sea should part: 2300 AD    
 2300 AD1 comment
picture12 Apr 2005 @ 19:02, by Tom Bombadil

"There is a hopeful symbolism in the fact that flags do not wave in a vacuum."
—Arthur C. Clarke

is a hard science fiction role playing game about Earth and its colonies...300 years after WWIII.

The intricacies of the system and the elaborate cultural and technological background of the games (the rules cover an extensive star system and a complex history and social environment) have earned it high marks for imagination—"imagination" in an Old Civilization kind of a way, that is. Picture this:

"Man has made it to the stars. Now he must fight to stay there, Human soldiers fight the implacable alien Kafers, Police fight smugglers, pirates and terrorists on rich human colonies. Explorers fight uncharted systems on the Frontier. And Colonists fight hostile environments on strange worlds. Nations fight each other for political power to determine who will lead the human race in the struggle to tame the universe."

I don't care how impressive and well thought-out the game might be in so far as the technical details and the intricacies of the rules go, I am not so sure that "imaginative" is the right word for it.

In fact, this doesn't look to me like the future at all (at least, I sure hope not) — 2300 AD seems to be plagued by pretty much the same problems our world is facing today. On a larger scale (instead of just plundering Earth, mankind is looting the universe—the final frontier). The 2300 AD universe deals with star systems that extend within 50 light years of Earth, but wars and human conflicts remain pretty much part of the picture (as to be expected, as this is a wargame). And people haven't changed very much, humanity is still given to plundering (e.g. smugglers transport alien products to other worlds, thoughtless of ecological effects) and even though humanity's collective wisdom is supposed to have grown some and there is very little practical difference between secular humanistic values and those of many religious humanists, narrow minded orthodoxies and fundamentalism remain a problem—big time. Imagine this:

2300 AD:

"A fusion of traditional Islamic concepts, Sufi mysticism and western sceptical enquiry, Western Islam is locked in a furious struggle with Orthodox Islam"

"An intolerant tone has emerged in some of the more recent Papal encyclicals stoutly reaffirming the traditional stance on birth control, euthanasia, priestly celibacy, and cyberware."

"Orthodox Judaism is in a bad way... Religious-nationalists are dedicated to the destruction of the Federation of Palestine, and the reclaiming of the entire historical Land of Israel for the Jewish people (by which they mean themselves of course)... Interpreting the Torah in a very literal way, the religious-nationalists see the destruction of Progressive Judaism and the collapse of Palestine as divinely ordained, and many are quite prepared to use force to achieve these goals."

"I have seen the future and it is very much like the present, only longer."
---Kehlog Albran, The Profit

Wow - I am so relieved all of this is only Science Fiction.

Well, obviously, such games reflect more of our own time than of the future, and speculating about the future is not really what they were intended for in the first place anyway.

At this point, it is safe to say that no one knows for sure what the future will be like in a few decades, let alone some 300 years or so from now.

Here is hoping it will be something very different from 2300 AD


Related Entry: Predicting the future

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1 comment

6 Mar 2006 @ 22:27 by Wayne Gralian @ : Author misses one salient fact
This world developed for the 2300 AD game stems from a nuclear World War III fought between 1995-2000. It probably would be useful to note this to your readers.

One could surmise that a catastrophic collapse of civilization would preserve many negative cultural elements the author deplores (nationalism, religious extremism), as well as creating new drives not seen in our current lazy modern age: Frontier exploration in a relatively enlightened manner, which passed unnoticed in the author's reading of the game background).

Wayne's World of Books  

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